Become a S.M.A.R.T. Marketer

It seems that everyone wants to make money online.

And why not – working online can be one of the most rewarding things a person can do, filled with lots of time off, good income and the satisfaction of a job well done.

OR … it can be a nightmare. Filled with information overload, confusion, spending too much on products that deliver too little and more. Getting started online for most people is tough to say the least.

So, how you can you from hype to hope? How you can go from where you are now (no matter how good or bad that is) to the place you want to be?

You get S.M.A.R.T.

If you have spent much time in self-help literature or sales training, you’ve probably heard of setting SMART goals.

Here’s the way I learned it.

To be effective, a goal must be …

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

And SMART goals really do work best.

So… how can we apply this to online marketing? Let’s take a look together.

NOTE: This is not only for full-time marketers. If you want to sell things online, either your own product, an opportunity, or earn as an affiliate, you ARE an online marketer, and this does apply to you.


Is your marketing specific? By specific I mean this — does the thing you are promoting solve a specific problem. And secondly, are you targeting a specific audience?

In today’s competitive Internet climate, selling general benefits won’t make the grade. To get people to take action today you’ve got to be specific. The more specific the better.

You need to speak to the person, not to a group, and let them know you know how to help them. This can be done as easily by affiliate marketers as it can by “gurus”.

It just calls for a shift in thinking from “here is why my product is great” to “here is how I can help you”. And that is a huge shift.

For example, if your product helps people save time, tell them how it will do that. But don’t stop there.

Remind them of what they can do with that free time. More time with family. More vacations. More freedom. That is what they are buying, not the product itself.

Remember  this – people buy what a product does for them, not how a product works. 

If it helps them make money, tell them how. And then let them know how that will help them live a better life.

The more specific, the better.

After all, the job of your website is to convert already interested people into customers, and not to take people who are wholly uninterested and get them to buy.


Ah, testing and tracking. It’s been the mantra of top marketers for a long time. Ever wonder why?

Because without measuring the results of what you do you simply can not KNOW what works and what doesn’t.

If you are not tracking you are guessing. And guessing is not good enough when it’s YOUR money on the line. 

Some people harbor a fantasy that everything top marketers do works every time.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

But effective marketers can quickly shut down a failing promotion, and quickly ramp up a successful one, because they are measuring results along the way.

Want to begin making real use of tracking tools without becoming a ‘tracking nut’?

Start by using a real ad tracker instead of a free link cloaker. You can read more about why at this article.

Whether you use a service (like Ad Minder or Hypertracker or Linktrackr) or a script running on your web server start using tracking links to measure response.

For an excellent overview of ad tracking see Harvey Segal’s site by clicking here.

Oh, and they’re not just for ads. You can measure which “buy” links get more sales on your sales page. You can measure which email message in your follow up series sells the most.

The possibilities are almost endless.


Forgive the rant, but this is my pet peeve. If you find a site that says you are going to get rich overnight or that they are going to do all the work for you or that people routinely go from rags to riches with their system please listen carefully.


Just ask the thousands of people who bought into the latest get rich quick schemes only to see their ‘investment’ disappear before their eyes.

The fact is, the Internet is the best place to have a business. No offline business can offer the level of income combined with time freedom (and no employees!) that the Internet offers.

But success online takes time. It takes understanding the process. It takes learning the language. It takes trial and (sorry to say it) error.

Are there ways to shorten the learning curve and get successful faster? You bet.

Is there a way (and I know you’ve heard this one before) to SKIP the learning curve, just copy a series of steps, and make all the money you want.


Is your marketing attainable? By that I mean, are your marketing goals attainable?

Almost any level of income you can imagine can happen online IF you take the time and effort to master an area and let that area of expertise carry you to heights you only previously imagined.

Focus is the key. Choose your areas of focus, become the best YOU can be and let life reward your hard work.


This sounds similar to the “attainable” point above but it’s different. By ‘realistic’ I mean this – are you expecting too much or too little from your marketing?

Is your marketing mindset realistic?

Here is one example from my own experience.

Recently a DOE member wrote to say that he ran an ad (cost him $40) and he got 400 visitors and was disappointed.

Is his marketing mindset realistic?

Heck no. I could retire with that kind of return on investment.

At 400 visitors he should have made three sales or more. Unless he’s selling products that pay him pennies he should have been wildly profitable. Even at $20 per sale he would have made a modest profit.

It is only when you break down the numbers that you can know if marketing succeeded or failed. 

So let’s look a little deeper than money spent and visitors received.

At 400 visitors, if the site he was promoting converted at an average rate, and his advertising was targeted, he should have had at least three sales and had about 100 people join his mailing list as well.

I know it is impossible to predict what any ad or website will do but these are pretty conservative numbers when you look at the totality of Internet marketing done well. A warm list combined with good targeting and a well-converting site will produce these results in most cases.

If the product he was promoting paid him only $50, that’s a $150 return on $40 PLUS 100 opt-in prospects, many of whom would eventually buy.

Not bad.

But he thought he should have made $1000 on the $40 and was upset.

Not realistic. Not very realistic at all. But someone some where told him he could run a low-cost solo ad and make $1000 almost immediately so that false expectation led to disappointment.

Do $40 ads sometimes create $1000 in commissions? Sometimes. But no one can say that will happen every time. No one.

The key to having a realistic marketing mind set is to know the numbers.  How well should a website convert?  Start with 1% and build from there.

How many people should join your mailing list? Start with 25% and work on making it higher.

It’s all a matter of testing and tracking. Only then can your mind set be truly realistic.


They say timing is everything, and so it is with marketing online.

Now timing can mean many things, so let me focus here on two areas.

1. How Often You Communicate With Your Mailing List.

If you have a mailing list (and you really must) you should let them hear from you no less than twice a week. I know that some people say that’s too much, and some say it’s too little, but I think it’s just right.

Anything less and they forget you.  Anything more and you risk running them off.

Now, if you have told your list up front that they will get emails every day or five times a week, then do that.

Remember, this is just my opinion folks. But it’s based on many years of testing and tracking.

Bottom line? Find what works for you. Better to do too much and back off than become the forgotten man or woman.

2. The Time Of The Month That Your Marketing Happens.

Ah, one of my favorite ‘tricks of the trade’.

I like to plan my major marketing to hit between the 14th and 20th of the month.


Because that’s when people have the most disposable income. And everything we sell online – whether we think so or not – is bought with disposable income.

Here is why this is true. People who receive a paycheck still get paid on the 1st and 15th for the most part. And big companies like mortgage companies, banks and insurance companies want to be paid as near the first of the month as possible.

In fact, many of them insist on it.

So that means the first check of the month usually goes to obligations such as the mortgage or a car payment.

But the second check, the one received on the 15th, is usually not gobbled up by expenses quite so quickly.

Which means people are more free to spend between the 15th and end of the month.

No one in their right mind is not paying the mortgage in order to buy your product.

They are skipping dinner out (a discretionary purchase) in order to buy from you.

So there you have it – the formula you can use to become a S.M.A.R.T. marketer. 

Is your marketing S.M.A.R.T?  It can be, and getting there is much easier than people think.

You will make a thousand choices about your marketing this week or month. If you use the S.M.A.R.T. formula to evaluate those choices and make your plan you will find that time becomes your ally and sales become easier too.

Best of all, you will be working with real numbers and will be able to grow and improve.

And that is a beautiful thing indeed!

Charlie Page

Happily married for 45 years, Charlie is the dad to two wonderful daughters. He is the author of 12 books on Internet marketing and creator of over 40 membership sites. You can see all Charlie offers using this link Click Here

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Mark M

Hi again Charlie, I’m always glad to read your blog posts.
Everyone of them is a gem, one day I’ll be as successful as you just from reading your posts. Thanks 🙂

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Barry Friedmann

Thanks Charlie,

As usual, you have hit the nail right on the head. This is very helpful and I will return to this page again and again.

What I like about your style, is that you not only tell what needs to be done, but why, so this makes it so much easier for the lay person to comprehend.

    Charlie Page

    Thanks Barry – happy it was helpful to you!

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Joe Pheto

Thanks Charlie for your wise leadership. like many of your followers I hope to be a member of your program as soon as I have raised the investment required. Continue the good work and look forward to more great advice from you.

    Charlie Page

    Look forward to working with you when the time is right.


Thank you Charlie for a another great article. I learned another new thing today. Always thank you for sharing your heart with us N always looking forward for emails from you. I need a favor from you, because of what I have read in the article, can you give me your honest opinion on this site, if it is a real thing? would appreciate very much your input.
Thank you again,

    Charlie Page

    I don’t know this product but I do know Ric and Liz. They were some of my first clients and I have worked with them for years. And for no other reason that it is their product I would say that strongly considering working with them on this makes sense. Hope this helps.

Zack Lim

Thank you for the good reminder and writing this valued added blog post.I totally agree with you the importance of being patience and having the focus to take consistent right action in order to see results.

Looking forward to reading your next article 🙂


    Charlie Page

    I really like what you said … “consistent right action”. That is a major key to success.

Charles Kaluwasha

Hi Charlie,
This is a great article for me. I have been working online for a few years but did not focus on one program, jumping from one to another and in the end, achieved less or nope.
This was because I did not set SMART goals.
One of my plans that are working now is to focus on helping fellow marketers to build a strong and motivated team using high touch and high tech marketing tools. Every one wants to have strong,working hard and motivated team.
And your article has come at the right time… thank you for sharing.

    Charlie Page

    I’m happy it was helpful. High touch is definitely what the market is saying it wants right now. I hope you do well.

Seng Sotharith

Hi Charlie,
Thank you once again for sharing me great articles. I always learn from you about online marketing. I think it is great source to learn here.


    Charlie Page

    Thank you for your faithful readership and comments. I appreciate you.

Graham Snell

Charlie, what a great article so clear and concise. Being fairly new to internet marketing I sometimes find it hard to figure out what it means to be realistic with my goals since there are so many on the internet that make it sound so easy and promise so much. It is only through testing and tracking the results of my ad campaigns that I get an honest reflection of how I am doing with my efforts. S.M.A.R.T marketing is a great way to put it all together.
I was a little disappointed with the results of my latest solo ad results and reading your timely article gave me encouragement looking forward to the second half of this month.
Thanks Charlie for telling it like it is.

    Charlie Page

    Happy you found it helpful. Advertising online is like any other skill — it takes a bit of time to get in the groove but once you learn it it will serve you well for many years.

Dylis Guyan

As always another article full of “real world” advice that we know will work because of your experience. Love the advice on when to send out marketing messages, I’m going to change the dates of mine immediately. Thank you Charlie.

    Charlie Page

    Glad that was helpful to you. It really does work well. Hope it works for you too.

Dave Strayer

Great post. I’ve used SMART goals and “well formed” outcomes for years, but never the way you’ve spun them to better apply to Internet marketing. Until now that is!

Thanks for the consistent high value in your posts and emails.

Dave Strayer

    Charlie Page

    Thanks Dave. It’s fun to take something we all know and spin it into something else. I love to write and writing little articles like this makes it even more fun.

Gordon Appleby

Nice article, Charlie! Lots of meat and good ole Common Sense. I think most of us can relate to the guy with the too-high expectations. Your analysis was dead on. 3 sales/100 new prospects who “raised their hands” will, over time, turn a small part time business into a very nice full time income. Coz the 100 new self-qualified names are w-a-y more valuable than the 3 sales. That money might be gone by this Friday!. Unless it’s invested in more ads, of course. Expectations of instant riches knock many folks out of the business B4 it has a chance to work. So, those who make their living making false promises don’t just “steal” a little money, they steal the true opportunity for folks to $ucceed. Think we should take ’em out back & shoot ’em? Thank you, Charlie for speaking honestly & w/ common sense. Keep it up.

    Charlie Page

    Glad you liked it. Shooting them might be a bit rough but I’m 100% on board with not opening their emails or buying their products. My perspective is a bit different. Having been online so long I know that the scammers will always come and go but the good guys (and gals) will stand the test of time. I’m adding a profiles section to the blog soon to highlight who I respect and why. Thanks for the comment Gordon.

Mathea Ford

Charlie – I have heard of smart goals and I have made some – and as far as I am concerned, you should set bigger goals than you think you can make, but be realistic when you have a return.
You should aim for more than you think you can get but not so much as to be unattainable – unless you are talking about longer term goals.
I learned a ton from your comments about mid month mailings – wow, that was worth the whole article! Thanks.

    Charlie Page

    Happy you liked it. That little tip has helped me so much over the years. Hope it helps you too.

dragoljub Milic

Hi Charlie, pleasure reading from you once again…………… are one in a million, very few can match your knowledge and openest ………………….petty, I can not afford myself “Directory of Ezine” what I consider the best and most reliable source of solo ads traffic that one can accomplish in the entire business! Just hope I soon will be able to join you in the member area….
take care and all the very best to youuuuu

    Charlie Page

    We will be here when the time is right for you. Look forward to working with you.

Bryan Knight

Thanks for the timely reminders Charlie. And the 14 to 20th tip. I’m hoping I can avoid having to again create a list — just the thought of emailing the list twice a week (even with an autoresponder service) exhausts me. I’m too old for such effort. However, as I launch my updated “Online Shrink” program, I definitely have to keep your focus and testing suggestions in mind.

    Charlie Page

    The autoresponder is the easiest thing in the world. It can be outsourced and you only have to do it once to have it work for a very long time. My main autoresponder sequence was written in 2006 and has been updated and modified since — but it’s been working for me (that one series alone) for six years. It will be worth the time and money you invest. Email marketing is the most powerful form of marketing online, bar none. Thank you for your comment.


Great article Charlie. What you said is really a constant reality check for me as I have had the “quick cash” mindset for a while, but by listening to voices of experience like yourself I am changing my mindset and have begun implementing some of these strategies. It’s a shame that voices like your are hard to find online, unless you find someone who is willing to tell the truth. Great job!. I’ll bookmark this and use it as one of my daily mindset reads.

    Charlie Page

    Glad you enjoyed it!

Clara Nolt

Thank you Charlie, I always look forward to your articles and the wisdom and truth behind them. Keep them coming!

    Charlie Page

    And I always look forward to hearing from you too. Thanks Clara.

Colin Cousins

Wow Charlie you really know how to lay it down I used to be like that until the penny dropped buying the next big thing now I’m slowly turning my business around and becoming profitable and is thanks to the honesty of people like your good self thanks for an inspiring article
Cheers Colin

    Charlie Page

    Happy you liked it Colin. The fast cash mindset is the path to being poor, no doubt there. So much better to focus our time on what is proven to work instead of chasing the next big thing. There really have been very few “big things” come along and, sadly, spammers and over-zealous marketers seem to ruin them quickly. Just look at what has happened to pay per click. Thank you for your comment.


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